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To Sam

Not sure what's wrong with me?

Hi, I am a 16 year old female.

I am overweight, not by a lot, but I know I am.

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember, even when I was 7 or 8 I was terrified of people lifting me up incase they found me too heavy. For years I have always felt fat and ugly and I constantly compare myself to others which just makes it worse.

Over Christmas, it got so bad I started eating minimal amounts of food a day. I survived on only half my dinner for a few weeks. When I went back to school I started eating again, it was fine at the time because I thought it was getting better.

Recently, I have gone back to what it was like before. I eat the absolute bare minimum and drink tonnes of Pepsi Max or Pepsi diet because the fizziness makes me feel full, but they only have 2 calories, so I don't feel as bad. I have to go for a run or do some form of exercise everyday to make what I've eaten ok.

I know this isn't normal, but I don't know what's wrong and I don't know what to do?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

I’m pleased you’ve written in to me. It sounds like this is something you’ve been worried about and have been trying to deal with on your own for a long time. I know from the letters I get that you’re not alone in your worries.

It sounds like something made you feel very conscious about your weight from an early age and this has had a big impact on you. It could have been simple playful remarks about how much you’d grown but you may have taken them to heart.

I can hear how low you feel about yourself. Comparing ourselves to others is not usually a good idea as everyone is different. When we’re low it seems that we always pick out better things in other people.

You could try to focus on the good things about yourself and remind yourself of these regularly to help improve your self-esteem. I understand that this might be difficult at first and could take time to get used to. Maybe you could look at things like school or hobbies or the things that your friends like about you. You could also check out some more of our tips about building your confidence.

It sounds like you’re trying to control how much food you eat but the levels you mention are dangerously low and unhealthy. It’s really important to eat a healthy, balanced diet - particularly during your teenage years as both your body and your brain are growing and developing quite quickly. A healthy, balanced diet along with moderate physical exercise is the best way to keep healthy in the long run. You can read our advice about staying healthy and you might also find some of the threads on our message boards helpful. This is an area on the site where young people share their experiences and talk about ways they have found to deal with some of the difficulties in their lives, including what you have described in your letter. You could also check out our section about Eating problems for more help.

I know that this is something that the counsellors at ChildLine have supported a lot of young people with so you might find talking to them helpful. You can ring them on 0800 1111 (calls are free and won’t show up on your bills). You can also log on for a 1-2-1 chat or send an email. A counsellor at ChildLine will be happy to listen to you and to support you.

Take care,

Sam

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